‘We need God’s light,’ San Antonio prelate says at Christmas Eve midnight Mass, ‘His dominion is vast and peaceful’
The birth of the Prince of Peace was celebrated at the Nativity of the Lord on December 25 at San Fernando Cathedral during a midnight Mass celebrated by Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller, MSpS, in which the San Antonio prelate wished everyone a Merry Christmas.
“Tonight we celebrate good news, because even when tragedies make joy impossible, we have peace, an unshakeable peace. For two years the whole world has been going through a pandemic and its consequences, in addition to the hardships of everyday life,” he acknowledged at the beginning of the liturgy. “Nonetheless, we rejoice because we know in faith that nothing escapes from God’s perfect plan for our salvation. We have gathered in the dark of night as a community of faith.”
The archbishop exclaimed that a savior has been born for us who is Christ and Lord! “Our hearts are touched by the beauty, the immense love, the trusting vulnerability of God who comes to us as a child, who touches something very tender and welcoming, deep within our hearts. God did not send his Son into a perfect world, an ideal situation. God sent his Son into a flawed world, to live among flawed people,” the Missionary of the Holy Spirit explained. “But He loved them unconditionally, and he loves us with all our goodness and all our shortcomings. And there is no sorrow, adversity or disappointment with which He is not familiar. He has turned the darkest night into day!”
Archbishop Gustavo described the scene on the night of the Savior’s birth in Bethlehem. Jesus lies in a manger, a place of food for animals. The infant is the Word of God, yet He can say nothing. The Messiah and Lord is a helpless, powerless baby.
“Who would recognize a Wonder-Counselor, a God-Hero, in such a condition?” the archbishop asked incredulously, responding, “He comes in weakness, and somehow this means powerful healing for all. He is to feed the whole world with his body and blood.”
Pope Francis says that “closeness and tenderness make us see the strength of God’s love.”
Though heavenly hosts sing of his birth, Jesus does not come with great power and wealth and armies to impose his will on us. Instead, He needs us to care for him! Archbishop Gustavo stressed. He added that the first ones to hear the good news of the Savior’s birth were shepherds, the simplest of people. “The announcement of the angel and the heavenly chorus leads them — and us — to a poor stable or cave — for there was no room in the inn for the Holy Family.”
At the cathedral liturgy, the archbishop told the faithful that they were joining the angelic chorus singing “Glory to God in the highest” and praying for peace in our world. Let us welcome Immanuel, God in our midst – in our community and within each of us,” he urged listeners. “Let us resolve to remember this night and to walk always in the light of Christ, in accord with the gospel.”
Lastly, Archbishop Gustavo spoke of the role of Mary. “Our Lady of Guadalupe, you have given birth to our Savior, the light that dispels all darkness. You turn our illnesses and distress into nothing. You are our Blessed Mother, the source of our life,” he emphasized. “We are in the hollow of your mantle, in the crossing of your arms. At your side nothing saddens us and everything is sweet. Heal us and make us feel the joy of your presence and that of your Divine Son. Help us to bear your beloved Son in our hearts and to bring him forth into the darkness of our world.”